Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/10/2015

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/10/2015


1. Canada Tanker Ban

Canadian Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who swept to power in the national election, has promised to ban oil tankers in environmentally sensitive waters along the British Columbia coast. The son of a former prime minister, Trudeau promised a ban on tankers in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound regions along the province’s northern coast. The move was needed to protect ecologically sensitive areas, he said. "It’s important we keep our most pristine and important coastal areas protected," he said during the campaign.



2. Italian Flag Exodus

Italy should brace itself for an exodus from its flag, with Malta likely to be a big winner. As Italy will soon have to amend its tonnage tax scheme in order to allow other EU flag ships to access the regime there is a serious risk of local owners departing. The regime basically allows for the determination of presumptive income based on the net tonnage of the qualifying ships apportioned to the effective shipping days (tonnage income). Last April the European Commission agreed to lengthen the tonnage tax until 2023, but asked Italy to cease its flag limit and make this same regime available also for other EU flag units.




3. El Faro Findings Emerge

The NTSB report provides the fullest picture yet of the "El Faro’s" final voyage, revealing that the ship had suffered some sort of breach allowing sea water to enter a hold and that one of El Faro’s two boilers was shut down for inspection about two weeks before the ship sank 20 miles from the eye of a Category 3 hurricane.

According to the report, El Faro set sail at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 29, after forecasters warned that Joaquin would likely intensify. At 1:12 p.m. the next day, Capt. Michael Davidson, 53, emailed company officials that he intended to dodge Joaquin by plotting a course that would take the ship about 65 miles south of its center.




4. Piracy Progress and Failings

While piracy in some of the world’s most notorious areas has been on the decline, the densely populated waters of the Malacca and Singapore Straits have seen a “sharp rise” in attacks on commercial vessels. 194 attacks on vessels in the first nine months of the year in South-east Asia have been reported, up 38% on the same period in 2014, as criminal gangs escalated instances of “petty theft of ships stores, mainly engine parts”. While progress has been made off Somalia, West Africa has seen some positive effects from the recent election of Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s president and an increase in activity by the Nigerian Navy.



5. Somali Pirates to be Repatriated

12 Somali Pirates who were arrested back in 2013 when they were accused to be pirates having allegedly attacked the "MSC Jasmine", a French ship have appeared in court. Their case has now been acquitted in the intermediary court as per the rulings of local judges and they are now to be sent home. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime will collaborate with authorities for the repatriation of the 12 Somalian men. The Passport & Immigration Office will also assist in the procedures. If, however, the men are found guilty, they will have to stay in prison for at least 6 months before being sent back to their country.




6. US Navy Looks at Cyber

Compromising the cyber integrity of the network threatens every user and every system on your ship or in your building, so says the US Navy in a new initiative to boost cyber security. According to the Navy, violating security best practices, circumventing security policies, carelessness and falling victim to social networking exploits opens the door to cyber adversaries who can exploit vulnerabilities which may directly impact our Navy’s warfighting capability and potentially threaten our lives.  Cyber foes are no longer just recreational hackers in pursuit of bragging rights. They are cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists and nation-states .




7. New Loan Boost for Gas Owner

Monaco-based owner and operator of LNG carriers, GasLog has secured an export credit agency-backed debt financing facility for $1.3bn from 14 international banks for its current newbuilding programme. The newbuilding programme, called the Newbuild Facility, covers eight vessels, which are slated to be delivered between 2016 and 2019. Under the terms of the agreement, the loan will have a tenor of up to 12 years with an amortisation profile of 15 years from vessel delivery. Upon completion, seven of the eight vessels will be chartered to a subsidiary of BG Group under long-term contracts ranging between seven and ten years.




8. Polar Routes and Planning

The Arctic has seen growing international interest in recent years as global warming causes the Arctic ice cap to melt and opens new navigation routes that allow for access to previously inaccessible raw materials. Intra-Arctic shipping is also likely to increase with oil and gas developments.The Arctic is believed to hold about 22 per cent of the world’s unexplored conventional hydrocarbon resources. The Polar Code and SOLAS amendments address detailed requirements relating to safety, design, construction, operations, training and the prevention of environmental pollution.



9. Tanker Business on the Rise

Malaysian carrier MISC is expected to achieve higher profits for 2015 as oil tanker rates have hit their highest levels since 2010. Very large crude carrier (VLCC) daily rates have crossed the USD100,000 mark as the drop in oil prices has encouraged demand. The resulting fall in bunker prices has also slashed shipowners’ operating costs, according to an analyst at Kuala Lumpur-based UOB Kay Hian Securities. UOB Kay Hian predicted that MISC’s 2015 profit will be USD612.4 million, up from 2014. MISC has also seen a 6% year on year (y/y) reduction in operating costs to USD549 million in the first half of 2015 (1H15).



10. Offshore Shipping Finding New Ways 

Offshore services firms in the Asian oil hub of Singapore are turning to higher-cost alternative funding avenues to offset a shortfall in bank-led financing, straining their liquidity that is already squeezed by weak oil prices, industry executives say. The companies, which own offshore support vessels (OSVs) performing tasks such as towing rigs and constructing offshore oil fields, are seeking funds from the sale and leaseback of assets and from equity partners, among other ways, to build up cash balances or even stay afloat. Charter rates and utilisation of the global OSV fleet have fallen about 20 percent this year.





Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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